On Thursday the 32 teams involved in this season’s Champions League learned their group stage fates.
Even with just a few balls drawn, the threads of several exciting narratives had already began to appear. By the end of proceedings we were left in no doubt that this campaign’s tournament is set to be one of the most enthralling in recent memory.
Don’t believe us? Here are five such narratives to get excited about before things get underway later this month.
After several seasons away from each other, the footballing rivalry that defined the 2010s is set to be renewed in this season’s Champions League.
That’s because Juventus have be drawn alongside Barcelona in Group G, which means Cristiano Ronaldo will be reacquainting himself with Lionel Messi.
It is the first time that these all-time greats will go head to head in the Champions League group stages and they promise to be enthralling contests which could have significant ramifications for the tournament as a whole. We cannot wait.
For a football club that has such a difficult relationship with UEFA, Manchester City seem to get a lot of easy Champions League draws.
After facing off against Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb and Atalanta last year, they will lock horns with Porto, Olympiacos and Marseille this time around.
To be honest, that’s the closest thing you can get to a bye into the last 16, isn’t it?
Congratulations to Manchester United on qualifying for the 2021 Europa League round of 32!
While their city rivals look almost certain to progress through their group, United are set to struggle.
The Red Devils have been paired with two of last year’s semi finalists in Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig, while a trip to Turkey to take on Istanbul Basaksehir will be no walk in the park either.
At least Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has shown he has the facility to defeat PSG in the past. That is the main reason he got the manager’s job in the first place after all.
It’s been a long time coming – 25 years to be precise – but Hungary finally have a team back in the Champions League.
Ferencvaros defeated the likes of Celtic, Dinamo Zagreb and Molde in qualifying and have been rewarded with several glamour ties against some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
The Green Eagles – a great nickname by the way – have been drawn with Barcelona, Juventus and Dynamo Kyiv in Group G. It’s a tough draw with former Bolton stopper and Shaggy from Scooby Doo lookalike Adam Bogdan set for a busy few games in goal for Ferencvaros…if he can force his way back into the team, that is.
Sevilla…Chelsea…FC Krasnodar…Rennes. We are 100% sure this is not a Europa League group, right?
Frank Lampard’s side have lucked out and secured one of the easiest Champions League draws imaginable.
After bowing out in humiliating fashion against eventual winners Bayern Munich last season, the Blues will be hoping to avoid such a tricky knockout tie this season by topping their group. With opponents like these to contend with, we would not put it past them.